Walker Power Muff Quads jumped off the Webyshops.com page at me as a unique, attractive solution to my hearing protection needs.
They arrived quickly via my friendly UPS man, and I opened the shipping box to examine the contents.
I was encouraged by the packaging, as on the cover was a clean shaven, earnest looking fella with his shotgun in the field, at work in a warehouse, in the woods hunting in camo, and working with a router on a DIY project. “Perfect!” I thought. “That’s what I need these muffs for, too!!”
Ol’ George, the resident crash test dummy, raised his hand and volunteered to model the earmuffs for some pictures.
I installed the supplied AAA batteries, one in each earpiece under a flap in the foam. Battery installation was easy, and the fact that these muffs use AAA batteries, which many of us have on hand for remotes, radios and flashlights anyways, is a plus.-
After putting the earmuffs on, I was able to familiarize myself with the controls. On each earpiece, there is an easy to access volume knob, under which there is a frequency filter knob. Turning the volume knob clockwise first turns the earpiece on with a tactile click, turning it further increases the amplification level on that earpiece. Turning the knob counterclockwise turns the volume down, then finally clicks to the off position. The ring underneath the volume knob is a frequency filter. Turning the knob counterclockwise decreases the amplification level of the higher frequencies, clockwise removes the high frequency filters.
The headband is easily adjustable for height, a simple grasp of the headband and a push or pull of the earpiece moves the earpieces in and out of the headband. The adjustment is secure once made, and I didn’t have to mess with readjusting or repositioning during the duration of my testing.
I found that walking around the house, the shop and the woods while wearing the Power Muff Quads was an interesting experience. The four microphones really do an excellent job of picking up all the noises that surround a person during their activities. I sounded like a herd of elk unto myself while walking through the wet leaves in the woods. The giant bear I heard destroying a tree turned out to be a squirrel trying to open a walnut. Raindrops on the roof sounded like an incoming hurricane. An incoming dragon overhead was merely a raven.
Since the packaging showed a fella working, as well as playing, I decided to try out the muffs in working conditions that I usually wear earmuffs in. I ran a chainsaw, a miter saw, a leaf blower and an angle grinder. Frankly, the electronics amplified all of these noises to an annoyingly loud level, then clamped them off. I was unable to hear anyone speaking to me while any of these noisy events were going on, and the constant noise was enough to make me turn the volume down, then the muffs off. If one is thinking of using these while in a consistently loud environment, such as running a tractor, mower, or leaf blower, you are just as well off with a cheap $15 dollar pair of earmuffs.
However, if your work involves short impulse noises, such as nailguns, short grinder bursts, or brief hammering, interspersed with conversation, these may be the ticket.
I noted that the amplification of sound included the user’s own voice while speaking. This had the unintended consequence of speaking quieter, which is counterproductive if the people you are working or shooting with are not using amplified hearing protection.
I left the work in the shop, grabbed a .45 handgun, an AR-15, and my son and we headed for the woods for some fun.
I’ve never been a big fan of earmuffs while shooting rifles, but I did find that while standing and shooting the AR, there was no interference with the earpiece and the stock of the rifle. The bottom part of the earcups are also relieved so that there should be no interference while shooting from the bench. Here’s Eli burning some ammo with Power Muff Quads on.
Tension on the muffs seemed to be just about perfect, and the foam rubber earpieces were compliant enough to adapt and seal to oddly shaped heads or hatbands.
While the Power Muffs excelled at sound amplification during quiet times, when the shooting started, I found the overall noise reduction to be less than expected. Noise clamping was acceptably quick, but when compared to other muffs, the boom of the .45 handgun and the crack of the 5.56 AR-15 were noticeably louder than the other muffs tested. The levels were definitely hearing safe, and I would most likely have been perfectly satisfied with their performance if I owned and used them in a vacuum, devoid of experience with other muffs. However, both Eli and I determined that these were the loudest of the muffs that we tested.
I think that if you have high frequency hearing loss and are looking for a set of muffs to use to protect what remains of your hearing while allowing you to engage in conversation in an intermittently noisy environment, these muffs are perfect for you. However, if you are looking for protection in a constantly noisy environment, standard earmuffs will serve you just as well, and if you are looking for the best noise reduction in a shooting environment, other muffs would serve you better.
Mark Spreadborough writes from his family homestead in Kalama, Washington, where he lives with his wife, son, daughter, dog and cat. When not writing, shooting, hunting, fishing or working on his property, he goes to his day job as a HVAC repair mechanic.